The Department of History strives for a knowledge-rich curriculum that is a coherent, challenging and well-sequenced narrative over time. The curriculum will empower students to construct layers of understanding and build powerful substantive knowledge, whilst developing a clear chronological framework. Students will study a series of selected chapters and events in British and world history to achieve a mixture of depth and breadth, featuring local, regional, national and global foci to allow the macro-level narrative of the curriculum to be supplemented and enhanced by micro-level experiences and stories of individuals. This should enable students to build schemata and, consequently, know more and remember more. Furthermore, the chronological nature of the curriculum lends itself to the effective interweaving of content and substantive knowledge and concepts, as well as meaningful utilisation and application of previous knowledge in a range of different contexts. For example, students will first encounter the concept of a hierarchy when studying the Feudal System, before revisiting this concept when studying the Medieval Church, the Victorian Class System or the Weimar Constitution, for example.
The curriculum is structured upon historically valid enquiry questions (the word history itself originates from the Greek historia, meaning enquiry) to ensure that the delivery of the subject resonates with the disciplinary traditions of historical study. In order to maintain this authenticity, students should also develop clear disciplinary knowledge of concepts such as change and continuity, cause and consequence, significance, similarity and difference, using evidence and the construction of interpretations. To this end, students should also be given the opportunity to engage with historical scholarship (both underlying and visible within enquiries) to understand the process of constructing, debating and reshaping history and the central role of historians in this process of investigation. In this way, the department also recognises that the curriculum should constantly be subject to renewal and debate to ensure that it remains perpetually relevant and representative. Through this process, students should understand that history is not simply a list of pre-agreed and universally accepted facts, dates or names; it is an active and ongoing process of investigation and discovery. Furthermore, all staff within the Department of History recognise the moral responsibility of representing the richness and diversity of the past and confronting the enduring legacies of a range of historical events from a variety of different perspectives and experiences.
In order to further achieve an inclusive, ambitious and academic curriculum, disciplinary literacy will be prioritised at all times. Students will be actively challenged to encounter, grapple with and understand complex lexical choices with a specific focus on tier two and tier three vocabulary. Students will be challenged to develop their capacity to “communicate like historians” and this will be supported through explicit vocabulary instruction and strategies to develop word consciousness within our students and their learning. In addition, students will be exposed to rich, challenging and academic texts and view reading as an inherent part of their success in history. Finally, all staff are committed to prioritising the ability of students to construct sophisticated, coherent and balanced written responses, developing the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, whilst prioritising, categorising and organising knowledge. To this end, the curriculum aims to equip students with the necessary knowledge (both substantive and disciplinary), language and schema required to contextualise their studies and prepare for the rigour of GCSE history and further study.